Logging with supervisord on Web Apps for Containers

4 minute read | By Anthony Salemo

This post will talk about some ways to show logging for child processes on App Service with Web Apps for Containers when using Supervisord


Supervisord is a process control manager. This can be used within containers to start multiple processes, rather than just one, typically.

A struggle with troubleshooting supervisord applications, if using a basic/bare-bones configuration, is that logging does not go directly to stdout/err unless explicitly configured.

Meaning, an application could be hitting various errors when attempting to start up (or later at runtime), but this is never written to stdout/err - which means this is never written into default_docker.log files. This makes troubleshooting more tough since if no changes to logging are made, then these files will be gone if the container exited/restarted - and also if SSH is not enabled, since this directory cannot be accessed unless otherwise enabled on the Docker image.

What would only be shown in this case, is logging about supervisord only, eg:

2023-11-02 13:13:40 2023-11-02 17:13:40,912 CRIT Supervisor is running as root.  Privileges were not dropped because no user is specified in the config file.  If you intend to run as root, you can set user=root in the config file to avoid this message.
2023-11-02 13:13:40 2023-11-02 17:13:40,917 INFO supervisord started with pid 7
2023-11-02 13:13:41 2023-11-02 17:13:41,920 INFO spawned: 'nginx' with pid 8
2023-11-02 13:13:41 2023-11-02 17:13:41,924 INFO spawned: 'node' with pid 9
2023-11-02 13:13:43 2023-11-02 17:13:43,077 INFO success: nginx entered RUNNING state, process has stayed up for > than 1 seconds (startsecs)
2023-11-02 13:13:43 2023-11-02 17:13:43,078 INFO success: node entered RUNNING state, process has stayed up for > than 1 seconds (startsecs)

Through startup supervisord output, you can however potentially understand which processes were created and which were able to stay running. In the above example, we can see both nginx and node started successfully.

If an application was failing post process creation, it would typically mention through supervisord that a process exited with an exit code - eg.,

2023-11-02 13:52:29 2023-11-02 17:52:29,084 WARN exited: node (exit status 1; not expected)
2023-11-02 13:52:30 2023-11-02 17:52:30,086 INFO gave up: node entered FATAL state, too many start retries too quickly
  • For more information on supervisord logging, see here.
  • For more information on enabled SSH for Web Apps for Containers, see here


By default, child process logging of supervisord is written to /tmp - where each child process has it’s own stdout/stderr file. Using the above example with NGINX and node, the /tmp directory may look like this:

# ls /tmp

Since /tmp is a non-persistent directory, when a container restarts or exits - this data would be cleared, which is not useful for troubleshooting.

There are some workarounds to persisting this data.

Change log directory

In supervisord.conf, you can change the log directory of child processes through the below:

NOTE: If the directory doesn’t already exist, the container will exit with Error: /some/dir is not an existing directory - make sure the directory exists by adding it as an instruction in your Dockerfile


With this now being configurable - you could use BYOS to mount a volume to that path for log persistence. Or, this can be pointed to /home/LogFiles as long as WEBSITES_ENABLE_APP_SERVICE_STORAGE is true, to use the built-in volume with App Service’s File Servers. These files can then be downloaded through FTP or Kudu.

Redirect child process to stdout/err

command=node /usr/share/nginx/html/server.js

You can combine the stdout_logfile and stderr_logfile directives to log to console - in this case, this would now be captured in default_docker.log as long as App Service Logs are enabled